cover image Flipping Forward Twisting Backward

Flipping Forward Twisting Backward

Alma Fullerton, illus. by Sarah Mensinga. Peachtree, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-68263-366-3

Fullerton (No More Plastic) authentically and compassionately portrays cued-white fifth grader Claire’s experience with dyslexia in this easily digestible verse novel. Claire excels at gymnastics and can pick up a routine faster than anyone in her gym. But at school, her difficulty reading (“Letters/ float, blur/ backward/ forward/ upside down/ all mixed up”), coupled with her classmates’ jeers, causes self-doubt. When vice principal Mr. McKay suggests she may have a learning disability, Claire is eager to undergo evaluation; her mother, however, who believes Claire just isn’t trying hard enough, refuses to get her tested. With help from her gymnastics teammates, older sister, best friend, and Mr. McKay, Claire is empowered to advocate for herself and what she needs to succeed. Printed in a typeface formatted for those with reading challenges, Fullerton’s flowing verse adeptly captures what dyslexia is like for Claire alongside her frustration around convincing her mother that she’s trying hard but needs assistance. This insightful story carries a strong message for teachers, caregivers, and children alike, and Mensinga’s emotive illustrations provide depth throughout. Ages 8–12. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary Agency. (July)